Friday, January 9, 2009
New Lucrative Banking Option
Welcome to unemployment circa the 21st Century. Some bright mind in the banking industry came up with a way to bring unemployment compensation into the credit card, profit making industry! Yes indeed~ enter the "Visa Reliacard". I am NOT making this up-- it actually exists. Now when it comes to credit cards, the thing bankers do best is fine print.
Rules, regulations, restrictions, addendums, exceptions, exclusions and what not. Here is a sampling into what the unemployed are up against...
You have the option of receiving benefits by ReliaCard or applying for Direct Deposit. If one does not apply for direct deposit of unemployment benefits, the system defaults to this method, as they only send an actual live check one time.
Your First Payment
For all new claims, the first payment is made by check. All subsequent payments will be issued electronically, either by ReliaCard or Direct Deposit. If you do not apply for payment by direct deposit, a ReliaCard Visa will be sent to you when your first payment is issued. I'm not going to bore you with all the fine print on the card, but just the highlights of how US Bank is taking advantage of the unemployed.
Beginning October 18, 2007, unemployment insurance payments will be issued through U.S. Bank® Visa® cards unless you apply for direct deposit to your own bank account.
#1- THE DELAY: Posting of payments:
It normally takes two days for a payment to be available in your account. A payment issued Monday evening should be available Wednesday morning.
#2- BANKERS NEED THEIR HOLIDAYS: Authorized benefits will be deposited automatically to the ReliaCard Visa. No more waiting for a benefit check to arrive by mail. Payments issued Monday night are usually deposited Wednesday morning. Federal and banking holidays will delay payment receipt.
#3 - THE UNEMPLOYED RARELY HAVE THIS PROBLEM- CARRYING TOO MUCH CASH:
No more worries about late, lost or stolen checks, or the need to carry a lot of cash.
#4- THE SPIN- NO CHECK CASHING FEES (HOW NICE OF THE BANK TO NOT CHARGE FEES)
No more check-cashing fees or waiting in line to cash your benefit checks. Use the ReliaCard Visa for purchases everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted and get the cash you need at any U.S. Bank or Visa/PLUS® ATM.*
The U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa is issued by U.S. Bank, N.A. Refer to the cardholder agreement that comes with your card for specific details. *ATM Network owners may charge a fee. Additional ATM fees may apply according to the agreement sent with the card.
#5- THE HONEYMOON CONTINUES!
There are No Fees for the Following:
The first two cash withdrawals per month from US Bank, either from a US Bank ATM or a US Bank teller
Purchases from merchants who accept Visa debit cards (look for the Visa logo)
Cash back with purchase from Interlink® Merchants who accept Visa debit cards
Replacement of lost cards
Monthly statements - on line and paper
ATM balance inquiries made at a U.S. Bank ATM
Customer services inquiries
#6 - DID YOU HONESTLY THINK THE BANK WOULD NOT CHARGE ANY FEES? SERIOUSLY?
Transaction Fees Apply for the Following:
The third or more ATM or teller withdrawal per month. (NOTE YOU GET 4 PAYMENTS A MONTH)
Cash withdrawals made at non-U.S. Bank ATMs will incur a $1.50 fee per transaction. ATM owners may assess an additional surcharge.
Balance inquiries made at non U.S. Bank ATMs may incur a fee from the ATM owner even if a transaction is not completed.
Rush delivery of a replacement card is $15. (IN OTHER FINE PRINT THEY SAID NO FEE FOR REPLACEMENT CARD, BUT IF YOU NEED SOONER ACCESS TO CASH, THAT'S GONNA COST YOU!)
Account overdrafts are $17 per transaction. As a one time courtesy, U.S. Bank may reverse the overdraft fee. Customers should call ReliaCard Visa customer service to discuss how the account became overdrawn. (THEY ALLOW OVERDRAFTS??? I WOULD THINK IT WOULD JUST BE DENIED, BUT THEY ARE NICE ENOUGH TO LET YOU GO IN DEBT AND PAY A $17 FEE).
Here are Some Frequently Asked Questions about ReliaCard Visa
#7- BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING- THEY CAN TRACK HOW YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY!
How Does the ReliaCard Work?
The card may be used to make purchases everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. The card may be used to pay bills, and for online, phone and mail order purchases. Cardholders can also get cash from over one million Visa/Plus branded ATMs, or from any bank teller of a financial institution that accepts Visa (look for the Visa logo). The amounts of purchases or cash withdrawals are automatically deducted from the available balance on the card.
When the card is sent in the mail, what does the envelope look like?
For security reasons, the card will arrive in a plain, white, windowed envelope with a Fargo, North Dakota (ND) return address. Do not throw away the card, even if you apply for direct deposit or return to work. Your card is good for one year, and you will need it if you become unemployed during the next year.
When does the ReliaCard Visa expire?
The ReliaCard Visa is good for one year. If you are eligible for benefits at any time during the year, your benefit payments will be placed on the card. If you are still receiving benefit payments or have a balance in the account at the end of the year, a new card will be issued to replace the old one.
Are There Costs Associated with the Card?
#8-FEE, FI FOE FUM! THEY SLIPPED IN ANOTHER ONE!
If the account is inactive for 120 consecutive days, there will be a fee of $2.00 per month charged against the remaining balance until the account becomes active again or until the balance is $0.00. Performing an inquiry to your balance will keep your account active without fees.
Rush delivery of a replacement card is $15. The card arrives in 2-3 business days. Standard card replacement (3-5 days) is free.
An overdraft fee of $17.00 per transaction will be assessed if the card becomes overdrawn.
Are there fees for tracking my balance?
If you perform a balance inquiry at a non-U.S. Bank ATM, you may be charged a fee by the ATM owner, even if you do not perform a transaction.
Is there a fee for using this card to purchase goods at a store?
No. These transactions are called Point-of-Sale (POS) transactions. When using the ReliaCard Visa to make purchases, there is no fee associated with it. It works like a Visa debit card, except that it is paying the merchant from the amount stored on your card. At participating Interlink merchants, you can also request cash back without paying a fee.
For withdrawals from non-U.S. Bank ATMs, U.S. Bank will charge a service fee of $1.50. The owner of that ATM may also charge an additional fee. These surcharge fees vary depending on the bank that owns the ATM. The ATM will notify you of the surcharge fee and allow you to cancel the transaction prior to being charged the fee.
#9- I BET THERE IS SOME PATRIOT ACT CLAUSE THAT ALLOWS ACCESS.
Can State agencies view or track my transactions?
No. For privacy reasons, U.S. Bank does not share card account numbers or transaction details. However, for reconciliation purposes, the Employment Department does have access to the amount and date of deposits to individual cards.
#10 - BUT WE ARE NOT SAYING WHAT THAT AMOUNT IS..... SURE YOU CAN DO A WITHDRAWL, WE ARE JUST NOT TELLING THE ACTUAL AMOUNT.
Is there a daily maximum amount I can take from my ReliaCard Visa account?
In order to lessen the risk of loss due to fraud or theft, U.S. Bank places daily transactional and dollar volume limits on the card. If you need to withdraw a large sum of money, make a withdrawal from a teller window at any bank or credit union that processes Visa transactions. The maximum amount allowed will be sufficient to withdraw your entire balance. When using the ReliaCard Visa at a merchant location to receive cash back, the merchant may have a maximum amount that you can request.
#11- DOES THIS EFFECT OUR CREDIT?
Can the ReliaCard Visa be overdrawn?
It is possible to overdraw the card in some situations. To avoid this, be sure to track your balance carefully. Check your balance free of charge by going online to www.reliacard.com, by calling 1-866-276-5114 or by performing a balance inquiry at an ATM. Keeping track of your available balance should prevent excessive withdrawals.
Will I be able to add other funds to my card, in addition to what Employment Department puts on it?
No. Only the Employment Department can deposit funds to the card.
#13- OF COURSE NOT
Will I earn interest on the funds in my ReliaCard Visa account?
No. The account does not earn interest.
# 14- UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE CAN ONLY USE AUTOMATED SERVICES.
Can I contact my local bank or the local U.S. Bank for customer service on my ReliaCard Visa account?
No. You must direct all of your ReliaCard Visa questions to the toll-free customer service line.
You may also utilize the web site www.reliacard.com for inquiries.
So there you have it!
Some genius in the banking industry figured out a way to make money off the unemployed.
This could potentially work for someone literate in bank card bullshit, but they may be putting these cards in the hands of someone who is potentially not even a high school graduate.
They do say it will not build credit, but they don;t say if it can HARM your credit, if a person did an overdraft.
How is it they happened to choose this particular bank, and that seems like a monopoly arrangement- one bank brand handling the unemployment money for the entire state?
Bah! Off to my low paying job!!!